My son Michael just finished his “roller coaster” Physics project. As my kids have grown, it’s been fun helping them with various school projects. There once was the Egyptian project in middle school. For Cassidy I helped her make this intricate irrigation system and for Michael I helped him make an ornate Egyptian obelisk. Apparently Michael’s teacher liked that obelisk so much that it’s still in her classroom, according to my youngest son Josh. I remember helping Cassidy work on her roller coaster project when she was a sophomore, where she was required to not only fabricate a contraption that allowed a marble to travel through it, but then also calculate all the mathematical principles involved in that marble’s descent through the coaster. As my kids have grown older my help has changed. When they were younger I weighed in a lot more, to help them complete their projects. Now that they are older, as much as I’m tempted to swoop in and engineer an elegant solution for Michael’s Physics project, my job has to be much more hands off with suggestions that empower his creativity and resilience in the face of his challenges. I have to say, I think Michael did a great job piecing together his marble-coaster out of a mish-mash of objects around our house!
As Michael carried his physics project to his classroom this morning it made me appreciate the fact that God – my Heavenly Father – has taken a similar approach to my maturity. My kids wish I would still help them with projects like I did when they were in elementary school. Well guess what? I wish God would help me like He did when I was young in my faith. When I was young in my faith, God was very hands on, but as I’ve grown older He still helps but because of His ongoing desire to empower my resilience and faith in the face of new challenges, His helps looks different.
It makes me think of this observation about God made by an under-demon in C. S. Lewis’ creative masterpiece This is a brilliant observation – “He (God) is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs – to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish . . . He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand: and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles . . . Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s (God’s) will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”